Mario Villalobos

Ambition and Insecurity

I want to tell stories. That’s essentially why I write. Whether they’re fictional or biographical, I like telling stories. I have to keep reminding myself about that because I’ve been feeling insecure about my writing recently, and if I really think about it, I’ve always felt insecure about my writing.

I feel like it doesn’t matter how much I write if it’s not a super focused activity. If I write habitually and, in a sense, mindlessly, then there’s no way I can improve. I can see it in my writing, and I can feel it when I read it. This is one area of my life where I have to be hard on myself. Writing chose me, and it’s something I have to do, but writers needs to be read. I need to be read. I have to be published, and I’m just not good enough yet.

As a response to my insecurity, I spent $25.93 on two books today, both of which are short story collections. I bought them because I need to improve my short stories. Hell, I have to write more short stories, and to be better, I have to read authors who write really good short stories.

I’m also rushing through my novel right now. I need to get through the first draft because then I feel that I will finally start writing. I’ve written 76,000 words, but that’s not a novel. It’s a couple hundred pages full of false starts and tangents I should never have taken. I need to refine my characters, tighten my plots, and improve my sentences. I need to keep revising it until everything flows and reads like a novel. I’m too far away from that right now, so again, I need to get through this first draft before I can start writing.

I think I need to rethink my daily routine. I do a lot of writing but not enough reading. I need to read more. I also need to write more fiction if I intend to improve it. I don’t know what this looks like yet. Part of me wants to cut my daily blog entries, but I made a promise to myself to write for a full year. I’m 147 entries away from that, including this one. I could always sleep less, but with all the Insanity I’m doing, that might not be a good idea. I’m also thinking about cutting back my workouts, but I need to workout my body, so I can’t cut that. What I’ve been thinking of doing is not writing 300 words every afternoon. Instead, I could spend that time either revising my novel or reading seriously. I’m not sure yet. Hell, I don’t know anything right now.

All I know is that I need to be a better reader and a better writer. I feel like this is an excuse, but there isn’t enough time in the day for me to do what I need to do. I feel crushed by the weight of my own ambition, and I don’t know what to do.